Terminology

Arytenoid Muscles

Referred to as adductors, compressing muscles or squeezing muscles. Create lateral closure of the vocal cords, by pulling the back of the cords together (adduction). Helpful in highest areas of range but can be used anywhere.

Pure Tone

Also called a Sine Wave, is a tone that is characterized by its unique frequency, or number of vibrations per second, which produce a very clear, piercing tone. A true Sine Wave is an artificial, electronic sound, similar to the beeping sound made when a truck is backing up.

Connection

As pertaining to singing: Having no audible breaks in the vocal range, and maintaining cord closure (connection) throughout entire voice. “Basically connected” is when the breaks are hidden through vowel modification or other ‘quick fixes’. “Truly connected” is when the voice has learned to maneuver through bridges and transitions and truly has no breaks.

Chant

A short, simple melody, especially one characterized by a single pitch on which any number of syllables are voiced. A very monotonous, rhythmic or repetitive song or phrase.

A Cappella

Singing without instruments for musical accompaniment

Tempo

The speed of a section of a composition or the speed of a complete piece.

Tonic

The first tone of a scale. Also see Root.

Interlude

An instrumental passage or piece of music performed between phrases, verses, songs, or acts of a drama.

Consonant

A speech sound or letter that stops or hinders the airflow by the tongue, lips, or teeth. Any sound other than a pure vowel.

Interval

The distance in pitch between two notes.

Hypo Phonation

Lack of complete cord closure, producing a breathy, fussy, airy or even velvet-styled tone quality. Has artistic value, but is often a sign of weak or damaged cords. When a singer has nodules, they often suffer from hypo phonation, because the nodules wonʼt allow the cords to fully close. Voiced consonants that would create this breathy quality include: zzz, zh, vv and th.

Quintet

1) A composition for five performers. 2) An ensemble of five performers.

Chest Resonance

The term used when describing the resonance quality and location of the chest or speaking voice. Technically, the voice does not resonate in the chest, because the chest is below the vocal cords which are producing the sound, but there are sympathetic vibrations in the chest cavity when phonation in the lower range occurs. When speaking or singing in chest voice, the voice resonates internally around the top of the sternum and externally through the mouth cavity.

Form

The organization and structure of a composition.

Edge Muscles

The inside edges of the vocal cords that experience compression and stretching. Vocal cords initially vibrate along the inside edges of the cords and then recruit more and more muscle fiber with added compression and airflow. Cord closure happens first along the edge muscles of the vocal cords. Weak edges equal breathy tones and a weak voice.

Minor

Means ‘smaller’ and refers to a key, chord or interval that fit within a Minor Scale. Typically music that is in a Minor Key produces more ‘sad’ or ‘contemplative’ sounds than music that is written in a Major Key.

Dynamics

In music, this refers to the varying levels of volume given to notes or musical phrases. It can also refer to the style, emotional feel, and pace of a given song. Dynamics are marked by letter symbols and directions in traditional sheet music.

Legato

To play or sing groups of notes smoothly and without separate attacks. Contrast with Staccato.

Serenade

1) A light vocal or instrumental composition. 2) A song sung beneath a lovers’ window at night.

Epiglottis

A flap of soft cartilage that is attached at the front top of the larynx. It remains tilted up and back in the lower area of the pharynx during breathing and phonation. When swallowing the larynx is raised and the epiglottis lowers to seal the top of the larynx to prevent food or water from going into the larynx.

Triad

A three-note chord consisting of a root, third and fifth. The four kinds of triads are major, minor, diminished and augmented.

Falsetto

A debatable register because it is not a grouping of notes with similar qualities, but rather a cord coordination. It resonates similar to the female ʻlegitʼ or ʻclassicalʼ Head Voice, and in males is sometimes mistaken for Head Voice. However, Falsetto is characterized by a breathy tone and can occur anywhere in the vocal range for males or females. The lack of intensity is due to the lack of cord closure.

High C

C6, or the sixth C found on a Grand Piano. The coveted high note for Soprano singers. Generally thought of as being the ceiling for the female voice. The Male or Tenor High C is exactly one octave below at C5.

Digastric Muscle

Located under the jaw. Not responsible for the pitch making process, but rather hinders it. It is an outer muscle of the larynx used for swallowing. The relaxation of the digastric muscle is key in allowing the inner muscles of the larynx to do their job and for the singer to find freedom.

Notation

The method of writing down music for performance or reproduction.

Opera

A drama set to music for voices and orchestra, presented with costumes and sets. It usually includes arias, choruses and recitatives. Singers of this genre are known for their high vocal technical ability and dramatic flair.

Formant

The spectral peaks of the sound spectrum often associated with the ability to have resonance in the voice that can be heard, unamplified, easily over orchestras. There are multiple levels of vocal formants a singer could potentially achieve.

Spinal Cord

A long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain. The brain and spinal cord together make up the Central Nervous System. Subluxation, or the degree of spinal alignment disfunction, affects singers dramatically.

Consonance

Combination of notes that produces a feeling of rest. When no further harmonic progression is needed to ‘finish’ the phrase. Consonant intervals are Major and Minor thirds and sixths, perfect fourths, fifths, and octaves. Contrast with Dissonance.

Temperament

1) The tuning of a keyboard instrument so that the instrument may be played in all keys without further tuning. 2) A system of tuning where intervals are altered from those that are acoustically pure.

Projection

In relation to singing, refers to increasing the volume and range of the voice to be audible to the hearers.

Whistle Register

The highest of all the registers. An extension upward of Head Voice to a thin, whistle-sounding register. The cords are zipped up to around 2/3 of their length, leaving only the top 1/3rd or 1/4th free to vibrate. The smaller vibrating surface produces the thinner sound quality.

Relative Pitch

The ability to recognize and/or produce any pitch after having been given one note as a point of reference.

Allegro

A tempo marking meaning ‘cheerful, quick, or fast’.

Mix, Mixed Voice, Mixing

Any particular blend of two or more resonating cavities. Some different types of mix include, Head Mix, Chest Mix, Pharyngeal Mix, Light Mix, Hard Mix etc. and also commonly referred to as the middle voice or mixing.

Movement

The complete and independent sections of music in a larger piece of music such as a sonata, suite or symphony.

Diction

The manner and inflection with which words are pronounced. Diction is an important tool in singing as it helps with communicating a song and establishing style and artistry.

Patter Song

A fast, humorous song.

Arpeggio

Sounding the tones of a musical chord individually in sequence, rather than sounding all the notes simultaneously. A common pattern in vocal warm ups.

Unison

Two or more performers sounding or singing the same note or melody simultaneously.

Coordination

Building coordination is maintaining medial cord compression throughout your entire range from chest voice to the head voice and beyond.

Licks, Trills & Runs

All means by which the melody of a song can be enhanced for the purpose of interpretation, style, and heightened technical difficulty. A Trill is the rapid alternation between the written note and a note directly above or below it. A Run is a series of notes descending or ascending from the written note to the next written note. A Lick is any combination of trills and runs or a completely different note pattern.

Baritone

The middle male voice classification. Typically refers to a male with a Tenor first bridge, E4-F#4, with a stronger lower range and a voice quality closer to a Bass than a true high Tenor.

Diaphragm

Muscular, membraneous partition

separating the abdominal [belly] and thoracic [lungs] cavities and functions in respiration. For the singer, this is often grossly overstated in its importance of great singing or ignored in a negative reaction towards those who believe in ʻover-trainingʼ the diaphragm for the singing process.

Soprano

The highest female voice classification and the highest voice part in a four part vocal chorus. Refers to an individual female who is most comfortable in the higher range of the human voice. A Soprano’s first bridge is over A4-B4.

Key

1) The tonal center of a musical composition. 2) The part of a keyboard instrument that is touched and moved by the fingers.

Treble

The top part of a choral composition. Refers to sounds high in pitch.

Head Resonance

Refers to the sensation felt when singing in true head voice. When singing in head voice, vibrations are felt in the nasal and sinus cavities. Vibration can sometimes be felt by putting the palm of one’s hand on top of the head and making a descending ‘siren’ sound in pure head voice.

Ligature

A musical notation that combines tow of more notes into one symbol.

Nodes

Slang for vocal cord nodules. A vocal nodule is a mass of tissue that forms on the inner edge of one vocal cord, typically from overuse and abuse of the voice. The mass hinders the ability of the cords to close, thus phonate, properly. Symptoms include hoarseness, raspy or weak tone, reduced vocal range, and pain. Treatments include vocal therapy, training, and vocal rest. In rare cases, surgery is used as a last resort to remove the mass. Caution should be used when nodes are discovered, and extensive research and effort put forth before surgery is considered.

Thyroid Cartilage

Nicknamed the Adamʼs Apple. The protruding cartilage that marks the front of the larynx. The vocal cords are housed behind the Thyroid Cartilage on a horizontal. The height of the larynx depicts the height of the vocal cords. To find your ʻAdamʼs Appleʼ, place your finger at the top of your neck, under your chin. Slide your finger down carefully, slowly and without pressure, until you feel a v-shaped notch. This is your ʻAdamʼs Appleʼ.

Timing

An aspect of phrasing. Elongating or shortening the duration of a note and/or attacking the note before or after the intended beat. Used for style and artistry.

Bass

The lowest male voice classification and the lowest voice part in a four part vocal chorus. Refers to an individual male who is most comfortable in the lowest range of the human voice. A true bass has a first bridge of A3-B3, and sometimes, due to the extensive lower range, will have trouble establishing head voice. Basses typically experience vocal fry throughout their range more than other voice classifications.

Tenor

The highest male voice classification and the second lowest voice part in a four part vocal chorus. Refers to an individual male who is most

Tonal

Having Tonality. See Tonality.

Hyper Phonation

Excessive compression of the vocal cords. Characteristic of a squeezed or strident sound. Often produces a shaky, quivering vibrato, rather than a free flowing vibrato. Sometimes a whiny sound will be produced, unless the larynx is low. Then a muddy, tight-throated sound is produced. A temporary hyper phonation can be useful in strengthening the cords, because the deeper compression activates more muscle fiber. Examples: bub, gug and any other voiced consonant that has stoppage such as dud and juh.

Commercial

As pertaining to music: Music that is suitable and attractive to the popular market. Aimed at making a profit and being marketable.

Resonance

The transfer of vibrations from one object to another. In singing, it refers to where the vibrations caused by the movement of the vocal cords travels in the upper respiratory tract.

Belting

A term used for singing in the higher range of the voice with a more powerful, exciting, and forward sound than pure head voice. Used to describe the mixing of the head and chest resonances into a hard, pharyngeal, or brassy mix. Most commonly used in the musical theater and pop styles of music. Sometimes negatively refers to someone pushing chest voice dangerously higher than the first bridge without adding head resonance.

Style

The manner in which something is expressed or performed. In music it is separate from the notes and words written. Can refer to the genre of music being performed or the particular characteristics that the singer brings to the song.

Range

The notes than an instrument or voice is capable of creating, from the lowest to the highest.

Sequence

The repetition of a musical phrase at different pitch levels.

Chromatic Scale

A twelve note scale composed of all the half steps of an octave.

Tremolo

1) Rapidly repeating a single note or chord. 2) Alternating rapidly between two notes or chords.

Exposition

1) Pertaining to Music: The first section of sonata or fugue form in which the theme or subject is introduced. 2) A large public exhibition usually of industrial or arts and culture.

Refrain

The melody of a song that is repeated after each verse. Also called the Chorus of a song.

Trio

1) A composition for three performers. 2) An ensemble of three performers.

Hyoid Muscles

A group of muscles used in mastication [chewing] and swallowing. These muscles are attached to the hyoid bone, which is suspended in the neck and forms the base of the tongue and larynx. The muscles are divided into suprahyoid (superior) or infrahyoid (inferior) groups relative to the bone. It was fun

Phrase

A complete musical idea. Applies to both lyrical phrases and harmonic phrases.

Register

A part of the range of an instrument or voice that is different from other parts.

Chest Voice

The speaking voice register of the voice which resonates internally against the chest cavity and externally out of the mouth. It is the second highest register, lying above Vocal Fry and below Head Voice. It is the foundation of power for the mixed voice.

Timbre

Also called tone color. The particular quality of sound produced by a certain instrument or voice.

Hymn

1) A sacred song of praise to God. 2) A similar song praising saints, other gods, or nations.

Pharyngeal

Addresses the type of sound which resonates off of the pharynx and allows for connection in the voice by means of resonance. Pharyngeal sometimes has a nasal, brassy, or crying quality and is used extensively in mixed voice.

Middle Voice

The overlapping of the Head Voice and Chest Voice registers. The ʻin-betweenʼ or middle register. This is the forgotten register. Typically, it has the addition of pharyngeal resonance as a connection mechanism between head and chest. The Middle or Mixed register is thought of as lighter than Chest Coice, but heavier than Head Voice. It is coveted or obscure in most training systems.

Relative Major and Minor

Or Relative Keys. Minor and majors that have the same key signature are relative. For example, both C major and A minor have no flats or sharps in their key signatures, so they are relative.

Medley

A musical arrangement that links together two or more popular songs.

Staccato

Means ‘Short, detached.’ Indicated in sheet music by a dot over or under a note. Contrast with Legato.

Blend

The mixing of 2 or more voices in a musical ensemble to produce similar tones and pleasing harmonies. Also refers to the combination and balancing of multiple resonances in the voice.

Delineation

The act of writing out an outline or diagram. An outline or chart that is physically written out. Delineating music is writing out a chord chart or a note for note transcription.

Trill

An embellishment of the note by the rapid alternation of the written note and a half step above or below the pitch.

Fourth

The space between the Tonic, first note of a scale or the root of the chord, and the 4th note of the scale.

Cadence

1)The end of a phrase, section, or complete piece of music. Can refer to both cord progressions or the melody of the music. 2) Refers to the rhythmic flow of a series of sounds or words.

Duet

A musical composition for two performers, either vocal or instrumental. Also called a Duo.

Head Voice

The upper register of the human voice in which the vibrations of notes being sung are felt in the the head or nasal cavity. In this register, the vocal cords are zipped up to about half their length, leaving the other half to produce a lighter tone quality. Most commonly associated with a classical Soprano sound, but can be sung by males and females. The second highest of vocal registers, above Chest and Middle Voice and below Whistle Tone. The Head Voice brings release to Mixed Voice.

Nasal Cavity

The open area above and behind the nose. Its primary purpose is to condition the air taken in during the respiratory process, not as a resonator. However, when singing in pure head voice, the strongest sensations of vibrations can be felt in the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity does become a resonator, along with the pharynx, when producing the nasal consonants of ‘M’, ‘N’, ‘Ng’, and when singing in a pharyngeal (nasal) mix.

Sextet

1) A composition for six performers. 2) A group of six performers.

Vocal Hyperfunction

(aka- Muscle Tension Dysphonia)- Excessive musculature in the vocal process. Too much musculature for the job required usually results in an unpleasant tone, poor control, inconsistent vibrato and fatigue.

Major Scale

A scale made up of two whole steps, one half step, three whole steps and one half step, in that order.

Progression

The movement from one note to another note, or one chord to another chord. Also refers to the feeling of movement within a musical piece from beginning to end.

Tune

1) A melody. 2) To adjust the pitch of an instrument.

Octave

The space between one note to it’s nearest note of the same letter name, exactly 12 half steps away. The upper pitch will have twice the frequency of the lower, and the two will sound like they are almost the same note and will have the same letter name.

Classical

Refers to the musical period of 1750-1820 where form and structure were stressed over artistic expression. Composers of the period include Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. 2) Pertains to more ‘serious’ and ‘artistically enduring’ music as opposed to pop, folk, or jazz. Classical music includes symphonies, operas, song cycles, sonatas, and lieder.

Larynx

The part of the respiratory tract between the pharynx and the trachea, having walls of cartilage and muscle. This is where the vocal cords are housed. The larynx ascends when swallowing and descends when yawning. The “Adamʼs Apple” marks the front of the larynx.

Metronome

An adjustable mechanical or electrical device that indicates the exact tempo of a piece of music with a series of clicks or beeps.

Phrasing

The shaping of a melodic line by dynamics, emphasis, and duration of the notes.

Alto

The lowest female voice classification and the second highest voice part in a four part vocal chorus. Refers to an individual female who is most comfortable in a lower female/higher male (Tenor) range. A true Alto will share a Tenor first bridge around E4-F#4.

Natural

The symbol and term used to indicate that a note is neither sharp, nor flat.

Warm Up / Warmup

A series of exercises meant to prepare muscles to perform. In singing, a series of exercises to ‘wake up’ the voice, stretching and engaging the vocal cords.

Orchestration

To designate which instruments play which parts of a composition. Also to compose and arrange music for performance by an orchestra.

Root

Also known as the Tonic, it is the fundamental note that gives the chord its name.

Tritone

The interval of a augmented (one half step higher) fourth or a diminished (one half step lower) fifth.

Hard Palate

The hard anterior (front) portion of the palate [roof of the mouth] separating the oral and nasal cavities, consisting of a bony framework and covering membranes

Exercise

A physical or mental exertion for the sake of training or improvement of health and function. Vocally, it is generally a short series of notes or tasks to be performed that aim to improve vocal cord function with the ultimate goal of vocal freedom, mastery of technique, and artistic flexibility.

Sharp

1) To raise a note, typically by a half step. 2) A musical notation used to show the raising of the pitch by a half step. 3) When a pitch is higher than the intended pitch and thus out of tune.

Phonation

Any sound produced through the vibration of the vocal cords.

Pentatonic Scale

A scale having five tones to the octave. It usually avoids half steps and corresponds to the notes played on the black keys on the piano.

Disconnect

Also known as a bridge or transition in the voice. Describes the vocal range where the singer must transition from one register to the next, sometimes causing a break in sound production. Developing the mixed voice can eliminate breaks in the vocal range. See Bridge or Passage Area.

Pharynx

The open area located below and behind the soft palate. The pharynx connects the mouth and nasal cavities to the larynx and esophagus. Connects the head and chest resonances, thus is used extensively in mixed or middle voice and causes a nasal or pharyngeal quality. It is engaged as a resonator by raising and lowering the soft palate.

Middle C

C4, or the fourth C found on a Grand Piano. It is notated between the Treble and Bass staves of the Grand Staff in sheet music.

Whisper

A debatable register because, like Falsetto, is a cord coordination rather than a grouping of notes.There is discernible cord tension and vowel shape, but the sound is pure air flow across the cords, due to the openness of the cords. As you close the cords gently, you begin to hear tone–either in a breathy Chest Voice or a breathy Falsetto.

Soft Palate

The soft, posterior [back] portion of the structure at the roof of the mouth that separates the mouth and the pharynx. This can be felt on the tip of the tongue by the singer simple saying “L” and sliding the tongue towards the throat until the roof of the mouth feels suddenly soft.

Dissonance

Two or more notes that when played together create a feeling of unrest and need for resolution. Contrast with Consonance.

Minor Scale

There are three types of Minor Scales. 1) Natural Minor: A scale made up of one whole step, one half step, two whole steps, one half step and two whole steps, in that order. 2) Harmonic Minor: A Natural Minor scale with the seventh tone of the scale raised one half step. 3) Melodic Minor: A Natural Minor scale with the sixth and seventh tone of the scale raised one half step when ascending, then lowered when descending.

Quartet

1) A composition for four performers. 2) An ensemble of four performers.

Vibrato

A rapid fluctuation of pitch slightly higher or lower than the main pitch. A balanced vibrato is a symptom of a free voice. A healthy vibrato is something that can be learned.

Voice

The sounds produced by the human vocal cords. See phonation.

Cricoid Cartilage

Sits directly below the larynx and directly on top of the trachea, thus forms the base of the ‘voice box’.

Swallowing the Note

A vague term used when a singer cannot find enough volume or the sound sounds muffled or swallowed. This can be an issue with resonance placement, awareness, enunciation, or cord closure. All of these problems can be solved with proper vocal training.

Modulation

The transition from one key to another within a composition.

Theme

The main musical idea, usually a melody, of a composition.

Tone

1) A pitch. 2) The interval of a second. 3) The quality of sound of a voice or instrument.

Fifth

The space between the Tonic, first note of a scale or the root of the chord, and the 5th note of the scale.

Adduction

The process of bringing two parts of the body towards the center of the body. In relation to singing, it refers to bringing the vocal cords together to vibrate and cause phonation. The lateral cricoarytenoid muscles are the main adducting (cord closing) muscles in the vocal process.

Adagio

1)A tempo marking that means ‘in a slow, leisurely manner’. 2) A piece of music that is slow and relaxed.

Imagery

As pertaining to singing: A figurative description or illustration that a vocal coach or director might use to help a singer achieve a certain goal. Sometimes used when technical explanation does not produce the coordinations the singer needs.

Harmony

The result when different tones are sounded simultaneously. Can produce chords that are pleasing to the ear or chords that produce tension. Singing in harmony refers to two or more singers singing different notes simultaneously.

Choir

An organized group of singers, especially pertaining to sacred music in the church.

Capriccio

A lively piece of music, usually instrumental, composed freely and without adhering to the rules for any specific musical form.

Compression

Is the balance of cord tension and air flow. The singer will spend much time trying to master the freedom of his or her voice. This is done by a balanced compression.

Overture

An instrumental composition used as an introduction to a production such as a ballet or opera.

Legato

To play or sing groups of notes smoothly and without separate attacks. Contrast with Staccato.

Recital

A performance by one or two performers, showcasing their technical abilities.

Instrumentation

The act of composing, arranging, or orchestrating music for instruments.

Pitch

The location of a note related to it’s highness or lowness.

Scale

The arrangement of a group of notes, descending or ascending, in a specific order of whole and half steps.

Vocal Cords

Also known as Vocal Folds. Two bands of muscle tissue located in the larynx, above the trachea. The vocal cords stay open when we are not talking, so that we can breathe. However, when we do talk, air from our lungs gets pushed through the vocal cords, making the cords vibrate.

Vocal Color

Similar to tone color. The particular qualities of an individual’s voice.

Key Signature

The group of sharps or flats that appears at the beginning of a staff which indicate the key of a composition.

Vocal Register

A grouping of notes that have the same quality and primary location of resonance in the upper respiratory track. Registers are determined by color, timbre, range and cord coordination. Registers are separated by bridges. Defined muscle coordinations are necessary to transfer from one register to the next. The number of registers is debated in the singing world, but the Singing Success program finds that there are 5 defined registers and 2 debatable registers.

Placement

In relation to singing, refers to the location of resonance of vocal sound. A singer learns correct placement by training in precise movements of the muscles involved in phonation and building awareness of how certain placements feel.

Bel Canto

Vocal Style of the great Italian singers of the 18th and 19th centuries, characterized by flawless technique and beautiful tone. Literally means ‘beautiful singing.

Vocal Fry

The lowest of vocal registers. An extension downward of chest voice. Can be thought of as the ʻbasementʼ register. Used heavily for style and for bass singers. The sizzle or fry sound is produced by slowly vibrating cords. The lower the note, the slower the vibration. As you speed up vibration and cord tension, you hear the vocal fry begin to speed up into chest voice.

Adam's Apple

Marks the front of the Larynx or ‘Voice box’ and is the nick-name for the Thyroid cartilage. The Adam’s Apple is more prominent in males and lower voices. The height of the Adam’s Apple depicts the height of the larynx. See Thyroid cartilage.

Time Signature

A sign at the beginning of a piece of music, usually of two numbers, one on top of the other. The top number represents the number of beats per measure, and the lower number the time value of each beat. This is also called the meter. It is placed after the key signature in sheet music.

Flat

1) To lower a note, typically by a half step. 2) A musical notation used to show the lowering of the pitch by a half step. 3) When a pitch is lower than the intended pitch and thus out of tune.

Major

Refers to a key, chord or interval that fit within a Major scale. Typically, music that is in a Major Key produces ‘happier’ and ‘lighter’ sounds than music that is written in a Minor Key.

Forced

As pertaining to singing: Also known as hyperphonation, is the act of pushing too much air through the vocal cords in order to produce more power or volume. This forced sound also comes as a result of the contraction of the abdomen and unneeded tension in the face and neck muscles.

Slide

To move smoothly from one note to another. Also called a portamento or glissando.

Intonation

Playing or singing in tune with other performers. The correct or accurate placement of intervals.

Reverb

Short for reverberation. 1) The amount of time a sound remains in a room after the actual source has stopped. An echo. 2) An electronic effect that simulates an echo.

Measure

The notes and rests between two bar lines in sheet music.

Middle Voice Resonance

The place of resonance for the mixed voice. A combination of Head and Chest Resonance, with the added resonance of Pharyngeal.

Chorale

1) A group of singers. Also see Choir. 2) Refers to a slow stately hymn tune.

Atonal

Music written without a tonal center or key. Usually sounds abstract and out of the ordinary.

Whole-Tone Scale

A scale made up of only whole steps.

Ensemble

And group of musicians performing together.

Bridge or Passage Area

The areas of a singer’s vocal range where a shift in cord function must occur in order to continue phonation uninterrupted. This sometimes creates breaks and these are often identified as register ‘boundaries’, but in actuality they are simply vocal problems that have been created by unnecessary tension. These can be corrected with proper training and should be referred to as bridges, passage, or transition areas, not breaks.

Rhythm

The organization of music in time using long and short note values and regular or irregular pulses.

Tonality

The melodic and harmonic relationships in particular musical scale. The feeling of an established key in a musical piece.

Full Voice

The state of phonation during which the vocal cords are fully engaged and vibrating.

Prelude

A musical introduction to a song or other musical composition.

Slur

A musical notation of a curved line above two or more notes that indicates that are to be played or sung legato, or smoothly.

Monotone

1) A vocal utterance or series of speech sounds that do not vary in pitch or inflection. 2) Refers to a person who is unable to discriminate between or to reproduce differences in musical pitch when singing.

marcato

1. (Classical Music) (of notes) heavily accented

Trachea

Also called windpipe. A tube-like portion of the respiratory tract that connects the larynx with the bronchial parts of the lungs.

Interpretation

Those aspects of a performance that come from the performer rather than the composer. As pertaining to singing: Taking another singer’s song and making it one’s own.

Connected

As pertaining to singing: Having no audible breaks in the vocal range, and maintaining cord closure (connection) throughout entire voice. “Basically connected” is when the breaks are hidden through vowel modification or other ‘quick fixes’. “Truly connected” is when the voice has learned to maneuver through bridges and transitions and truly has no breaks.

Cricothyroid Muscle

Is an inner muscle of the larynx, between the thyroid and cricoid cartilages. It is the only tensor muscle of the larynx that produces tension and elongation of the vocal cords by drawing up the arch of the cricoid cartilage and tilting the thyroid forward. The frequency of the vibration of the vocal cords is determined by the tension of the vocal cords. Thus, the Cricothyroid muscle controls pitch when singing.

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